Pink Slime Part II: MSNBC Uses Bogus Picture to Bash Beef

Apparently the burden of proof rests with MSNBC’s viewers to notice when the cable channel uses incorrect photos.

MSNBC’s “News Nation” hyped a Politico hit job of the beef industry on Sept. 10 – but there was a problem with a picture they used to illustrate the “grossness” of lean finely textured beef, which they continued to smear as “pink slime.” MSNBC host and NBC national correspondent Tamron Hall also called the beef a “controversial meat product” during the segment.

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One picture shown as “pink slime” was not lean finely textured beef, according to Beef Products, Inc. (BPI). BPI’s website states that “nobody is for sure what it is and where it came from.” They noted that the image has also been used in campaigns against chicken nuggets and mechanically separated chicken. The MRC’s Business and Media Institute has contacted MSNBC about this issue, and awaits a response.

Misleading "beef" pictureThe MSNBC segment referred to a Sept. 9 Politico story about how some schools across the country are starting to add beef containing lean finely textured meat back into their cafeterias. The USDA-approved meat was pulled from some stores and schools after a media panic in 2012, led by ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer.”

Politico referred to the beef as “controversial” twice, “scraps” twice, and “the product” six times. It even referred to it as “remnant scraps of cattle carcasses.”

The derogatory term “pink slime” was coined by a disgruntled former USDA employee, and was quickly picked up and promoted by ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer.” When it led to the loss of over 600 jobs, BPI, the company most hurt by the attack, filed a lawsuit against ABC News for $1.2 billion in damages.

Mike Ciandella
Mike Ciandella
Mike Ciandella is a staff writer for the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute.